The South Asian Times

17 October 2018 14:45 PM

NJ elections: Racial attacks on Indian Americans

New Jersey: An Indian-origin American woman is facing deportation threats as she decided to contest for a school board election in Edison, where she was born. A poster depicting the picture of Patel and Chinese-origin Jerry Shi was sent to the residents of Edison anonymously.

Apart from stamping deport marks on the faces of Shi and Patel, the poster calls to 'Make Edison Great Again', reminiscent of Trump's election slogan.  

Democrats Patel and Shi doubt that the poster-makers have any truck with Trump's campaign, they may be rivals trying to win elections by dividing the electorate on racist lines.

The poster asks voters to stop Shi and Patel from taking over the school board and warns the residents that 'the Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.'

There is more. 'Chinese School! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is Enough!!' reads the last part of the poster.

An annoyed Patel, a lawyer, wonders, “I was born and raised in New Jersey. To see the word ‘deport’ on my picture — where are you going to deport me to? Really, it’s just outrageous.”

The ire against Asian origin Patel and Shi may have something to do with the demographic shift. The latest census data reveals that in Edison whites’ population is reduced to 44%. Asians constitute over 43% in the town.

The school board controls the town's 18 public schools.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has condemned the racist mailer. “One of our country's greatest strengths is its vast diversity, and this hateful rhetoric has no place in our democracy and runs contrary to everything the Garden State stands for," said Meng. "More than one in five New Jersey residents is an immigrant and nearly half of Edison’s residents are Asian. These include hard working business owners, taxpayers, teachers, mothers, children and neighbors who love their communities. This racist mailer is shameful and disgusting and was produced for no other intention than to empower divisive forces of bigotry and hate." She also urged authorities to do all they can to find out who is behind the mailers.

Update: 10 Nov, 2017